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How to tell if you are a True Servant
To be a servant you must think like a servant.
My servant Caleb thinks differently and follows me completely. Num. 14:24 (NCV)
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. Phil. 2:5 (Msg)
Servanthood requires a mental shift, a change in your attitudes. God is always more interested in why we do something than in what we do. Attitudes count more than achievements. King Amaziah lost Godís favor because "He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a true heart." Real servants serve God with a mindset of five attitudes:
Real Servants are Self-Forgetful
They focus on others, not themselves. This is true humility: not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. Paul said, Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. This is what it means to "lose your life"- forgetting yourself in service to others. When we stop focusing on our needs, we become aware of the needs around us.
Jesus "emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant." You canít be a servant if youíre full of yourself. Itís only when we forget ourselves that we do the things that deserve to be remembered.
Unfortunately, a lot of our service is often self-serving. We serve to get others to like us, to be admired, or to achieve our own goals. That is manipulation, not ministry. Some people try to use service as a bargaining tool with God: "Iíll do this for you God, if youíll do something for me." Real servants donít try to use God for their purposes. They let God use them for His purposes.
Out of all the people Paul knew, Timothy was the only example he could point to.
We can measure our servantís heart by how we respond when others treat us like servants. How do you react when youíre taken for granted, bossed around, or treated as an inferior? The Message paraphrase of Matthew 5:41 says, If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life.
Real Servants Think Like Stewards, Not Owners
The Bible says, The one thing required of such servants is that they be faithful to their master. How are you handling the resources God has entrusted to you?
Money has the greatest potential to replace God in your life. More people are sidetracked from serving by materialism than anything else. They say, "After I achieve my financial goals, Iím going to serve God." That is a foolish decision they will regret for eternity. Real servants are more concerned about ministry than money.
The Bible is very clear: God uses money to test your faithfulness as a servant. Thatís why Jesus talked more about money than he did about either heaven or hell. He said, If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? How you manage your money affects how much God can bless your life.
Real Servants Think About Their Own Responsibilities, Not What Other Servants are Doing
They donít compare, criticize, or compete with other servants or ministries. Theyíre too busy doing the work God has given them.
Competition between Godís servants is illogical for many reasons: weíre all on the same team, our goal is to make God look good, not ourselves, weíve been given different assignments, and weíre all uniquely shaped. Paul said, We will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
Thereís no place for petty jealousy between servants. When youíre busy serving, you donít have time to be critical. Any time spent criticizing others is time that could have been spent ministering. When Martha complained to Jesus that Mary was not helping with the work, she lost her servantís heart. Real servants donít complain of unfairness, donít have pity-parties, and donít resent those not serving. They just trust God and keep serving.
Itís not our job to evaluate the Masterís other servants. The Bible says, Who are you to criticize someone else's servant? The Lord will determine whether his servant has been successful. Itís also not our job to defend ourselves against criticism. Let your Master handle it.
Real Servants Base Their Identity in Christ
They remember they are unconditionally loved and accepted by grace, so they donít have to prove their worth when they are threatened by lowly jobs. Most of us are too insecure to be servants. Weíre afraid our weaknesses and insecurities will be uncovered so we hide them with layers of protective pride and pretensions.
One of the most profound examples of serving from a secure self-image is Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. Washing feet was the equivalent of being a shoeshine boy, a job devoid of status. But Jesus knew who he was, so it didnít threaten or bother him to do it.
If youíre going to be a servant you must settle your identity in Christ. Only secure people can serve. The more insecure you are, the more youíll want people to serve you, and the more youíll need their approval. On the other hand, when you base your worth and identity on your relationship to Christ, you are freed from the expectation of others. You are freed to serve.
Servants donít need to cover their walls with plaques and awards to validate their work. They donít insist on being addressed by titles and they donít wrap themselves in robes of superiority. Servants find status symbols unnecessary and they never measure their worth by their achievements. Paul said, You may brag about yourself, but the only approval that counts is the Lord's approval.
Real Servants Think of Ministry as an Opportunity, Not an Obligation
They enjoy helping people, meeting needs, and doing ministry. They "serve the Lord with gladness." Why do we serve with gladness? Because we love the Lord, weíre grateful for his grace, we know serving is the highest use of life, and God has promised a reward. Jesus promised, The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me. And Paul added, He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other Christians.
Imagine what could happen if just 10% of all Christians in the world got serious about their role of being a real servant. Imagine all the good that could be done. Are you willing to be one of those people? Albert Schweitzer said, "The only really happy people are those have learned how to serve."
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